Friday, 12 December 2014

Witches of Angus - A Sampler

The most famous witches in Angus, going by the extant written records, are undoubtedly the unfortunate Forfar witches, whose trials took place in the late 17th century.  But there are also significant records of witches in the session and other records, most notably detailing alleged witchcraft in Brechin.
   The last witch to be executed in the county is said to have died in the parish of Ruthven.  The site of her burning was marked by a large boulder in a field.  Tales of other latter day witches are numerous.  There was Jean, witch-wife of Cardean (on the Perthshire border), who was consulted by folk from far and near, and was the terror of local lairds.  She was once visited by a Forfar woman who wished to find out about a missing item.  Jean made the thief confess to taking it.  Sadly, Jean was eventually found drowned in the Dean Water, killed by Satan during a ferocious nocturnal battle.
    A witch in the Carse of Gowrie (Perthshire, but bordering Angus) stole cow's milk by knotting a magical rope and reciting:
                                 Meers' milk and deers' milk,
                                 and every beast that bears milk,
                                 between St Johnston and Dundee,
                                 come a to me, come a to me.

    One witch who was executed in Glen Clova prophesied that Loch Brandy, high up in the hills, would one day overflow and drown the inhabitants of the glen.  She may have been Margaret Adamson, burnt by the minister of Cortachy in 1662.


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